“Those Victorians always coupled sex with death,” writes Margaret Atwood in a recent short story published in The New Yorker. This particular comment comes at the conclusion of the story, after an elderly woman exacts fatal revenge on her childhood rapist, whom she encounters on a booze cruise for seniors.
The Lesbian Panic, Victorian Desires and the Gothic Genre
Have you heard the one about Queen Victoria? When asked whether the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act outlawing homosexual acts between men should be extended to include homosexual acts between women, the Queen simply could not imagine that sex between two women was possible.
Women’s Decadent Sexuality in the Nineteenth-Century
Many people associate the term Victorian with the notion of sexual repression. Looking back at nineteenth-century America, modern day culture has constructed a belief that the Victorians were straitlaced and sexually in the dark.
The Literary Invitations into the Nineteenth-Century Erotic
In Brian Moore’s 1975 novel ‘The Great Victorian Collection’, the staid and respectable academic Anthony Maloney dreams into life an exhibition of Victorian artefacts in historical room settings, which include “the parlor of a famous Victorian brothel” alongside objets d’art and displays from the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Not all Drag Queens are Born Equally: The Gender Identity
Heteronormativity within our society has a significant impact on how we come to view and understand gender identity. Drag queens allow a break in the heteronormative gender guideline while also reinforcing the social image of what it means to look like a woman.
Promethean Desires: Historiography of Victorian Sexuality
Michel Foucault initially challenged popular conceptions of nineteenth-century sexuality by claiming that the Victorians were not repressing sexuality precisely because to force something to be hidden is to acknowledge its existence.
Queenship Love and Separation in the Age of Mistresses
All — or nearly all — of the sovereigns had mistresses. On the one hand, amorous relationships and conjugal relationships were considered two separate entities; on the other, affairs seemed to be part of the king’s profession, attesting to his strength and virility as a monarch. Of course, Louis IX did not have any, which chroniclers and hagiographers stress was a remarkable exception and in keeping with the Holy King’s admirable virtue.